“You’re such a grandma!”
“You’re like 87 on the inside!”
“You’re such an old soul!”
I’m bombarded with these kind of musings on a weekly, if not daily, basis. My desire to go to bed early, constant baking and matching pajama sets have all led to me being dubbed a granny. I’m even in a friend’s phone as Grandma…which is really confusing for her when she wants to call her actual grandmother.
More often than not, I know these observations aren’t hurled as insults or made out of spite, sometimes the speaker even voices envy at my elderly perplexities. And to that I say…well, duh! My grandma is one of my best friends; it’s an honor to be grouped into a category with her. Smart, hardworking (to this day, at 82!), and the most loving and generous woman I’ve ever met – and you think I share similar attributes? Yes, please! (Plus, as a bonus, I haven’t had to birth any children, thank goodness.) I’m a nurturer, like my grandmother. She’s taught me a lot of what I know in the kitchen and in life. It’s not surprising people tell me I remind them of a familial matriarch.
My food choices also lend toward the moniker. I love cottage cheese with fruit (yes, really!), oatmeal raisin cookies, Riesen candies (I have a crystal candy dish on the end table in my living room), peppermint tea, and coffee cake. Specifically, this coffee cake. I’ve been making it for years, mainly by feel and when the desire struck to have dessert for breakfast, too groggy to write down the recipe. But, when my friend Nick, who also happens to be a bit of a grandpa at heart, was leaving work to pursue his passion full time, I decided to put pen to paper while creating this cake for him. So now you can make it at home. And then take a slice to your grandma. She’d do the same for you.
Classic Crumb Coffee Cake
For the crumb:
1 ½ cups flour
3 TBSP sugar
½ tsp. salt
6 TBSP butter, melted and cooled
For the cake:
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. espresso powder
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13inch pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper before spraying again, set aside.
Make the crumb topping by whisking together the 1 ½ cups flour, 3 TBSP sugar, and ½ tsp. salt before stirring in butter. Mixture should be moist, but not wet and crumble and break apart easily. Set aside.
Whisk together the remaining flour with the baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and espresso powder. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of the bowl to make sure everything is fully incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring to fully incorporate, stir in vanilla extract and sour cream.
In alternating batches, add the flour mixture, then half of the milk, the flour, milk, and ending with flour. Scrape down side of bowl as necessary to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed.
Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with crumble.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 – 35 minutes, until center is set.
Remove and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving with a dusting of powdered sugar and fresh cup of coffee.